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Largest Federal Grant in IRSC History to Change Trajectory for Minority Students Pursuing STEM Careers

Largest Federal Grant in IRSC History to Change Trajectory for Minority Students Pursuing STEM Careers

September 29, 2021 Suzanne Seldes

Indian River State College (IRSC), a Hispanic-serving Institution, seeks to increase the number of Hispanic and low-income students who attain degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields with the help of a $4,961,238 Hispanic-Serving Institutions STEM and Articulation Program grant from U.S. Department of Education. IRSC’s STEM Pioneers project will assist students from the College’s service district of St. Lucie, Indian River, Martin, and Okeechobee counties by focusing on student success in undergraduate STEM coursework and developing a model articulation and transfer agreement between IRSC and the University of Florida. The grant is the largest federally funded competitive grant in the College’s history.

HSI Grant for STEM Programs

“This HSI STEM grant greatly expands IRSC’s capacity to help underrepresented students excel in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education,” says Dr. Heather Belmont, Provost/Vice President of Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Officer. “The STEM Pioneers project takes a holistic approach to supporting Hispanic and low-income students throughout their educational journey, so they may be successful in attaining good-paying careers in in-demand STEM occupations.”

The STEM Pioneers project addresses student challenges through integrated academic and student support strategies and activities to promote retention and graduation in a STEM field. These include:

  • Development of the STEM Learning Commons and extension of the STEM peer tutoring program;
  • Student summer research opportunities with IRSC, University of Florida, U.S.D.A., Cleveland Clinic and others;
  • Faculty Professional Development and Learning Communities in collaboration with University of Florida;
  • STEM career course development and deployment with University of Florida;
  • Mental health counseling; and
  • Development and deployment of concierge STEM student services via STEM success coaches.

By the end of five years, Indian River State College aims to increase the number of full-time degree-seeking Hispanic and low-income undergraduates who successfully complete their IRSC studies and transfer to a four-year institution to continue their STEM education.

For more information about IRSC programs that lead to STEM careers, visit

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